Title: What Light
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
UK Release Date: 20th October 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Christmas
Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon – it’s an idyllic place for a girl to grow up, except that every year they have to pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life begins to eclipse the other…
-> Thank you to My Kinda Book for sending me a proof of this for review!
I was lucky enough to receive a proof of What Light from the lovely people at My Kinda Book, and I read it at the perfect time, during the SundayYAthon. I’d just read My True Love Gave To Me, a Christmassy anthology of short romances, so I was in the mood to read a Christmassy romance that was a longer so I could really get lost in the characters and plot, and What Light was just the right thing for this. I was also looking forward to reading it as it was one of my Christmassy recommendations, a post I did as part of Blogmas.
This book is absolutely perfect if you’re trying to get into a festive mood. Everything about it screams Christmas – from the snowflakes and little lights on the cover, to the theme of the story itself: a Christmas tree farm. I thought that this was such a lovely thing to explore, as so many people have Christmas trees, and they’re such a big part of Christmas for a lot of people. The festive mood was present throughout the entire story, and the trees weren’t the only aspect that was perfect for the season. The characters drank hot chocolates with candy canes swirled in, they exchanged gifts, they had festive celebrations, and I enjoyed every pages of the festivities.
I also enjoyed the romance between Caleb and Sierra. Cute, contemporary romances with some minor reasons for conflict before the couple get together are something I believe to be essential for any bookworm’s library, even if it’s just the one, as they are so good for getting into a cheerful mood, smiling to yourself about how cute the protagonists are, and What Light was amazing for this. I had a grin on my face pretty much the entire time I was reading this, and I was rooting for them throughout the whole book.
I think my main hesitation point in the book was about Sierra’s devotion to Caleb perhaps going slightly too far. I thought that the book did the romance well – sometimes books can rush this, but What Light was set over a month long period, so I thought Caleb and Sierra falling for each other was fairly believable – but I didn’t like when Sierra essentially ditched her old friends for Caleb. It wasn’t really right, and it didn’t feel particularly in line with Sierra’s character given how much she had valued her friendships in the rest of the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed What Light, and thought it was a perfect read for the festive season. Even though I did take issue with the fact that Sierra prioritised her budding relationship with Caleb in ways that I didn’t find entirely believable, the romance itself was cute and well written, and it’s a book I might have to reread next Christmas in order to get into the festive season!